Tasmania is set to build a multi-million dollar hub for seafood production, offshore renewable energy generation, and advanced marine engineering and development.
The Morrison Government and private sector companies from Australia and across the globe have committed $329 million in a partnership to create a Blue Economy Co-operative Research Centre, based at the Australian Maritime College in Launceston and boasting some of the best minds in the world.
From 1 July this year, the Commonwealth Government will invest $70 million to the partnership alongside the support and financial backing of the Hodgman Liberal Government.
The plan will bankroll the best science and technology associated with offshore marine farming, especially salmon farming, marine infrastructure and renewable energy generation. Marine-based industries in Australia, widely referred to as the 'blue economy', service a sector that supports more than 390,000 jobs.
Participants have conservatively modelled that by 2035 the UTAS-based CRC could create 2500 jobs per year through increased scale and investment. The initial objective is to expand the nation's seafood production by $360 million a year over a decade and cut production costs by $60 million a year.
We certainly believe the CRC will deliver millions of dollars into the Tasmanian economy and generate jobs across the state, where our seafood industries have a beach value of $946.9 million, reaching $1.2 billion after processing and packaging, and employ many thousands of Tasmanians, many in regional areas.
The Blue Economy CRC will focus on five key areas identified by industry: Offshore Engineering and Technology, Seafood and Marine Products, Offshore Renewable Energy Systems, the Environment and Ecosystems and Sustainable Offshore Developments.
Industry and research partners will combine to deliver viable, environmentally adapted and socially acceptable innovations in aquaculture and seafood production, marine renewable energy and offshore engineering.
The partnership will showcase Tasmania to the world as a first-class centre for marine research and development. This could involve offshore infrastructure such as deep sea platforms, artificial harvesting reefs, robust fish pens and large scale kelp industries.
This is an incredibly exciting international boost to our marine industries and firmly establishes Tasmania as a world player in tackling the challenges and opportunities with offshore marine industries.
The University of Tasmania, Australian Maritime College and the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies will be able to appoint 50 post-doctorate positions and 50 PhD students involved in research programs.
The CRC will enable Tasmania to become a destination of choice for the world's best marine scientists and engineers while stimulating Tasmania's role in the production of low cost, reliable and clean energy at offshore marine installations.
Solar, wind turbines and wave energy options could also be developed to make offshore facilities durable and powered automatically by on-site energy production.
The partnership will enable small to large marine and energy industries to share the cost of research, where otherwise they simply would not have the resources to do it on their own.
One major opportunity will be the exploration of offshore aquaculture opportunities, allowing our world-class salmon industry to move farms further from the coast into deep water, creating production, marketing and sustainability advantages.
At the research level, I am immensely proud that the venture provides a fantastic platform to showcase the deep expertise within CSIRO and UTAS, including the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies and the AMC.
The university and its affiliates are rapidly adopting a greater posture in the everyday life of Tasmania, and this venture will supercharge that impact and benefits.
Tasmania will be the hub of the world's best practice in seafood production especially salmon farming, renewable energy, marine science and engineering.
The Coalition Government has committed approximately $747.9 million in funding for various industry CRCs across Australia since coming to office, to strengthen economic growth and help to create 1,250,000 jobs over the next five years.
Tasmania will be the hub of world's best practice in seafood production especially salmon farming, renewable energy, marine science and engineering.
- Guy Barnett is the Tasmanian Primary Industries and Water, Energy and Veterans' Affairs Minister.